Thursday, September 20, 2012

The beauty of video chatting

Since some of my family is still in Russia (my dad, my grandma and my aunt), none of them met Allie yet. So we use video chat a lot these days. Sasha is able to communicate with my aunt and my day through the amazing creations of technology. Of course this is not an ideal way of communicating, but if you have no other option, this actually works pretty great! As soon as we have a lot of extra money, we will all take a trip to Russia and see all of our relatives! :)

Video chat communication with a baby can be... well,  interesting. Because it’s not like Allie can just talk to my dad.  She likes seeing her grandpa (”dedushka”) on the screen, but doesn’t know what to do about it. Sometimes she’ll just stare as she eats her dinner or breakfast. Most of the time she just goes on a showing off spree and demonstrates what she can do: she’ll dance, fall, get up again, fall again, bring a toy to the computer and stick it in the screen, she’ll lick the screen, push the buttons, close the laptop top (=disconnect), and so on… It has just recently started reminding  real communication between my day and Allie. A fun thing they do together is he will make a piggy (or a cow, or a chicken, etc) sound and she will copy him and start laughing. Piggy sounds are the funnest! Another thing that they like to do is Allie will ask him for a “Twinkle” (or as she pronounces it “Teenkle”). That means that my dad has to switch on a stuffed bear that sings the “Twinkle little star” song. Allie just loves the song and the way that the bear sings it.  Actually, the minute she sees my dad on the screen, she yells out “Teenkle!” The funniest thing about it is that I am pretty sure she thinks my dad’s name is “Teenkle”, because when I ask her “Who is this?” and point at the screen with my dad  or his picture in a  photo album, instead of saying “dedushka” she says “Teenkle!”

Finding time to video chat with my dad can also be tough, because of the time difference. What has worked the best so far is connecting when it’s morning for us and afternoon for my dad. That way it’s a reasonable hour for everyone and Allie is usually in the best spirits early in the morning,  so we’ll chat with my dad a few days during the week and go about our business, knowing that my dad is happy because he just got to see his granddaughter and Allie got to enjoy Teenkle’s company.

I just really cannot get over the fact how great it is! I’d never really appreciated it so much until I had a baby and now it’s just like “How did people live without it?” Allie likes to talk to her “Babushka” and her “Mor-Mor” . Babushka is Russian for “grandma” and “Mor-mor” is a Swedish for grandma who is your dad’s mom. We have some Swedish presence in our family, too. 

A few times a year I have to travel for a week at a time for my job and this is when I love video chat the most. I can be across the ocean and still be able to hear and see Allie. She can also see me and we can sing and talk and play. Sometimes though it can be just heartbreaking. The fact that you can see but cannot hug or kiss her  is sad. During one of my trips we “chatted” with Allie once but I didn’t want to do it again for the rest of the trip, because when she saw me on the screen, she extended her arms and wanted a hug and she wasn’t getting it, she stated crying. Heartbreaking... But of course, overall what a great chance to see your family while you are away! Sometimes during those trips my husband will leave the chat on while doing his usual stuff around the house and I will leave mine on while doing my stuff and it’s like we are together, even though separated by thousands of miles. 

Looking forward to tomorrow morning to “hang out” with Teenkle! Enjoy video chatting with your families :)

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